WSUU Mid-Week Connection 
April 1, 2020 

Welcome, beloveds! 
Humans are meaning-making, pattern-finding creatures. In the midst of uncertainty, we learn to honor rituals of care that ground us and offer us spaciousness to integrate our experiences into our understanding of who and how we are in the world.  For as long as we are living in this threshold time, between the old normal and the new normal, we will plan to offer a mid-week connection filled with invitations to create and participate in spiritual practices and creative resilience.
Our inaugural mid-week connection includes a well-being practice from Board Member Aimee Schiefelbein, a mindful moment practice by the Rev. Cynthia Westby, a creative project from Cedar's Unitarian Universalist choir member John Weins, and a love note about spiritual discipline from the Rev. Deanna Vandiver, your Bridge Minister.

And a special event announcement f or your spiritual sustenance: 
On Thursday, April 2nd at 3:30 pm Pacific, our fabulous UUA Side With Love/Love Resists Team, UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray, UUSC President Mary Katherine Morn, Emma's Revolution, and other beloveds will lead  Side With Love & Love Resists in These Times  on Zoom.  Click here to receive an invitation.

Embodied Practice

We begin with a brief (2:21) embodied well-being practice offered by Aimee Schiefelbein, M.A., LMCH, who serves as a counselor in the larger world and as Secretary of the Westside UU Board of Trustees:  

Click here to watch  Aimee's invitation to practice.

Daily Mindful Moment Practice

This daily mindful moment practice is offered by the Rev. Cynthia Westby, Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth here at Westside UU.  She will also be leading worship on Sunday, April 5th, at 10:30 AM, offering us "Mindful Conversation as Spiritual Practice," so be sure to join in the  WSUU Zoom worship!
You are invited find a place, ideally observing nature, where you would like to wonder and observe what is happening there over time.  

Choose a place in your back yard or looking out a window onto a tree or bush or landscape, someplace you want to be every day.  
Decide on a time to be there every day.  
Each day you will look and discover, from your spot, what is happening there.  Perhaps the tree is blossoming, perhaps a bird is building a nest in the bush, perhaps a squirrel is visiting, or a hummingbird is feeding in the flowers.  
Observe from this spot for a set time each day (perhaps 10-15 minutes) noticing carefully what is arising in those moments.  You may notice external events, you may notice internal events (feelings and sensations for instance).  Then choose what something to take a picture of that day, and when you are ready take one photograph.  
Each day take one photograph of the same place, perhaps observing what is different, changing, or reflects something of your mood that day.  

Let this be fun!  

Offered with love for all of you,  
Rev. Cynthia Westby, DRE

Creative Practice

This short video (6:26), created by dear UUs in the Cedars Unitarian Universalist choir on Bainbridge Island, invites us to create accordion books, which can be wonderful resources for holding our stories, learnings, joys, fears, and imaginations while we continue to adapt to new ways of living:

And a love note about spiritual discipline from the Rev. Deanna Vandiver, our Bridge Minister:

In 1989, our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) published a curriculum called On the Path: Spirituality for Youth and Adults.  This curriculum offers an explanation for what spiritual discipline can mean within a Unitarian Universalist context:

A spiritual discipline is a way that you organize yourself to be open and available to your own spirituality on a regular basis. Spirituality is an experience of a depth dimension to life-beyond the physical, the obvious, the provable, and the universally shared. It involves the relationship between one's being and the universe. Discipline means that you choose to explore the spiritual part of yourself, and you choose to do this regularly... When you work with a spiritual discipline, you do this activity, whatever it is, not just when you feel like it, but according to whatever agreement you've made with yourself. For UUs, the most common spiritual practice is collective worship. The common elements of worship are: sacred space, opening words, chalice lighting, music, sermon, prayer, and closing words. Other common forms of spiritual practice for UUs include physical exercises [like yoga], or ascetic practices like fasting, journal writing, or meditation.

 Dear ones, we are now in a season where you may find the need to be more intentional about your spiritual discipline than usual. I invite you to practice whatever organizes you to be open and available to your own spirituality.  Spiritual discipline is not a luxury.  I have been told that Gandhi meditated an hour day - unless his life was extremely hectic, in which case he made sure to meditate for two hours on those days.

  Many of us find our our nervous systems deeply activated at this time, especially those of us who have already endured traumatic life experiences.  We all deserve a regular practice of well-being.  May you feel held by a vast love as you practice spiritual discipline that helps you integrate your experiences with who and how you are in the world.

With love and care, 
Rev. Deanna 

More Resilience Resources:

Reach out to our Bridge Minister to be connected with our Pastoral Care Team by e-mailing Rev. Deanna at

Westside's Congregational Care Clusters have been organized geographically to offer each other maximum support during this time of physical distancing.  Please connect with your cluster and make sure you share your needs and resources with each other.   If you have any questions about Westside's clusters, please contact Jade at

A Recipe for Resilience by Margaret  Weis:
Feeding your spirit, expanding your mind, working for justice
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